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Dream... or Not

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Chapter 8.

The agents gathered on the parking lot, left in hurry to find all bombs the Organization had sent to the patients of the hospital in disguise of gifts. Tsukiko sighed inwardly. When one knew what would happen for sure, it was hard to just follow without trying to do anything about it.

The girl sat down on the ground and took the orange she snatched from her gift basket out for her bag. Conan gave her a curious look.

"What's up?" The blonde asked with arched eyebrows as she peeled the orange. The boy frowned.

"Why…? How can you be so relaxed in a situation like this?" The little detective asked with slight tone of accusation in his voice.

"Because…" Tsukiko paused for a dramatic effect. "Whatever is going to happen now it's impossible to stop it. So, why should I get stressed up and think different ways to stop them if I know it won't help at all? Instead, I should stop to think countermeasures to minimize the damage others will cause."

"What makes you think this is impossible to stop?" Conan jumped immediately on the suspicious statement.

"Nee, Tantei-chan... you are pretty smart, right?" The girl ate the first bite of the orange.

"Don't call me like that…" The kid detective murmured. "And answer to my question!" Short fuse apparently. What happened to the level-headed detective of East? You sound like Hattori Heiji now… But Tsukiko ignored the outburst in favor of her story she began to tell.

"Imagine a huge, well-guarded fortress. Inside the fortress is a treasure that every, every single guard is keeping an eye on and worrying about. Of course the surrounding area of the fortress is also well-watched and it's impossible for the enemy to break in and steal the treasure-..."

"So? What does that have anything to do with our current situation?" Conan interrupted me. Were his brains stuck on battle mode instead of planning mode now? He should've realized what Tsukiko meant by now. The girl shot him an annoyed glare.

"What do you think? If you wanna get that treasure but it's impossible to break in and just take it… How can you get it then?" She huffed.

Conan frowned. He didn't get the meaning of that question but still gave his answer: "It could be possible if the treasure is outside of the fortress." That got the girl smile widely.

"You are very close to get the point of these questions." She grinned and ate two bites of the orange. "Well, obviously the guards wouldn't like to move the treasure away from the fortress because they think the fortress is the best and safest place for it. And in that fortress are also some civilians that don't know about the existence of the treasure. So, what could make the guards move the treasure to another place?"

"The enemy should make the guards think the fortress isn't a safe place anymore?" The boy guessed.

"Exactly! You are pretty smart indeed. Do you want some orange?"

Conan remained quiet but Akai, who hadn't said anything to Tsukiko's little questions but attentively listened, smirked, saying: "I see. You think that's their goal? How did you find out about it?"

Tsukiko grinned, "That was a piece of cake – or a bite of orange… Anyways, I found-..." She began explaining but got interrupted again. This time by Black who fortunately hadn't listened(as it would've raised even more unnecessary questions) the questions Tsukiko gave Conan.

"WHAT?! Mizunashi is in the television right now?! Is it really her?" The American exclaimed to the radio he was holding. Calmly Tsukiko ate the last bites of her orange and got on her feet. "Go to her room and check the situation there!" It was the order the girl had been waiting for. And indeed a second later Conan and Akai realized what was going on. Right like Tsukiko had 'assumed'.

"Tell the leaders of each block: Don't let them go into Mizunashi Rena's room!" Conan yelled in panic.

"I guess we are too late…" Akai muttered, glancing at the hospital and then at Tsukiko who was trying her best to hide her smile. Not that anyone else noticed it.

"Finally…" The girl whispered. The planning duo had finally found the real reason behind the bombs. And naturally at the very same pace than in the original manga.

The quartet that had been on the parking lot, was on their way to the third floor when Conan suddenly jerked the sleeve of Tsukiko jacket.

"What is it Tantei-chan?" The girl asked without slowing down or even glancing at him.

"Those hints you gave us…" The boy began but it was now Tsukiko's turn to interrupt him.

"…Didn't work at all. You didn't figure it out in time."

"Did you know what was going on?"

"Yes and no. Like I was about to say on the parking lot, I found this tracker inside the bomb I gave to Jodie-san." Tsukiko dug out a little button-like thing from her jeans pocket and showed it to the boy. "This little thing made me think about what exactly was going on... Which is also why I tried to hint you…"

"Why couldn't you tell outright about it?" Akai joined to our conversation. The three of them fell into a step a couple of meters behind Black. What an odd group they made…

"Of course I couldn't! If I had, it wouldn't have helped at all. The bombs had to be collected anyways but searching and disabling the trackers from them would be waste of time." The girl explained with a shrug.

"Waste of time?" Conan repeated, frowning once again.

"Don't you get it? In any case the Organization would make the agents gather to Mizunashi's room in hurry like what happened recently and then the odds of at least some of the trackers would working would be quite high."

"And everyone would think that telling about the trackers was just a way to buy more time and make everyone careless. Leading suspicions towards you." Akai concluded the explanation with his trademark smirk on his face.

"Correct. But mostly because I knew that telling about the trackers would have led to the very same situation than we are now." Tsukiko lifted the tracker on the level of her eyes and looked at it closely. "By the way… what do you think about it? If I had been a spy from the Organization, would I have been sent that bomb?"

"Probably not. The spy should concentrate on gathering all sorts of information, not to think how to get rid of the bomb without raising suspicions." Conan stated with the same deadpan tone he had used when Tsukiko had asked about the weird newspaper headline. Why you brat… "Why do you ask?"

"There isn't really any special reason. And the question itself was also mostly a rhetorical one. But thank you, Edogawa-kun. It's much easier for me to stay here when I know that at least someone is not constantly suspecting me." The girl smiled down at the boy.

"I didn't say anything about not suspecting you anymore... Hey, aren't you calling me with that nickname anymore?"

"Oh, I can continue it if you want to, Tantei-chan."

"I do not!"

They arrived to Mizunashi's room. Akai and Conan told the other agents about the trackers inside the bombs.

"What shall we do now?" Some agent asked.

"With what's happened, there's no point in staying here any longer. We are going to use our last resort which I told you about this morning!" Black said. Meanwhile Tsukiko crouched beside Conan.

"I told you so…" She whispered to his ear.

"When?" The boy hissed back. Oh, hadn't his brain caught up yet? Well, with all those plans of his, he probably didn't pay much attention on what Tsukiko told him.

"Remember the questions I asked ten minutes ago? The fortress I mentioned meant this hospital, the guards FBI agents, the enemy was the org and the treasure represented that unconscious newsreader…"

"Oh, let me guess. The civilians unaware about the treasure were the patients in this hospital?" The kid didn't bother whispering anymore.

"Bingo!" The blonde girl grinned.

"Conan-kun, Okiya-san, what are you talking about?" Jodie had noticed the duo wasn't really listening the plan.

"A-, we just…" Conan began but Tsukiko beat him to it.

"Tantei-chan just happened to ask some unimportant questions. Like kids do. Nothing special." She explained quickly. The chibi detective gave her evil-eyes.

When Conan made his childish suggestion about moving Mizunashi with Agasa's Beetle, Akai took his cell phone before the boy could make a call and said: "You may be that, boy... but this is not an option. This is our job. I can't allow ordinary citizens to get involved in this any longer."

"D-Demo…" Conan stuttered.

"Leave the rest to us." The man stated, giving the phone back and then telling about his own plan. Tsukiko sighed. The man said he got the idea from Conan's suggestion but in reality he and the boy had planned it in advance. Oh, well… It was a great plan anyways.

Like expected, Camel volunteered as the driver for the van where Mizunashi Rena would be. Jodie walked around the room, telling to every agent their position during 'the chase'. But suddenly and quite unexpectedly she stopped in front of me.

"Okiya-san, you are going to be in the van number one." She said. "You'll lie on the stretcher."

"Heeeh?" To say the girl was surprised was a grave understatement but she ended up just shrugging and saying: "Whatever… I believe in this plan. I guess I'll be alright."

Conan stood on the corridor and let his eyes follow Tsukiko who stepped out of her room. She had gone to leave her bag in there for the course of 'the chase'.

"Bye then, Tantei-chan!" She smiled. "See ya later."

"Say, Tsukiko-neechan… What did you mean with the earlier?" The boy asked.

"Oh, that. Nothing, absolutely nothing." Tsukiko said and walked past him. "Don't worry about it, Tantei-chan. Everything will be fine, at least during this day." She smiled.

Conan frowned.

"Ah, no… Good luck." Jodie said to Camel who thanked. Tsukiko snorted.

"The luck really is needed during this unlucky mission." The girl smirked.

"What do you mean?" Jodie snapped. Apparently, like Conan, she never missed a chance to question the girl.

"Hmm… Maybe I should fix that statement a bit. I meant 'The luck is needed during this successful mission with unhappy end.'" The blonde girl shrugged and left during the silence she had caused with her words. "See you at the vans."

"'Successful mission with unhappy ending'? What does that mean?" Someone pondered aloud.

"Hopefully nothing. We have to go now. Everyone to their positions. Quickly." Black said and all agents left to downstairs. Conan watched after Camel with a nervous look on his face.

"Don't make that kind of face. The success of this strategy is necessary." Akai told the boy, startling him. "Or is it that you're just nervous about my word?" The man smirked.

"No... Not at all." Conan smiled nervously but added then. "Her words just…"

"She might have a good grasp on the situation when it's not expected but I doubt she is an enemy."

It was the time for the vans to leave the hospital. Tsukiko was lying on the stretcher in the van number one and six agents were seated around her. And two more agents were on the front, 'behind the wheel'. It was uncomfortable to say the least but could one do in a situation like hers? The van started its engine. Tsukiko closed her eyes against nervousness and tried to relax. Everything would be fine. She'd be just fine...

The girl listened carefully the car's engine and the way it echoed. It was the only way to find out where the car was driving and what was happening around it. Right now they were still in the underground parking lot of the hospital but soon they headed out along a metallic slip. The tires made a sound like 'rata tata ta' instead of the smooth hum they usually made on concrete and asphalt. And now the sound of the tires had died down. Instead, Tsukiko could hear the other cars around. They were outside. Closing her eyes, the girl concentrated on finding a certain sound. It was easy because inside the van no one was saying anything…

It took a while but finally Tsukiko heard it. A sound of a motorbike: Chianti was following them.